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Nigeria Growth Expanded an Estimated 7.1% in Fourth Quarter

Feb. 15 (Bloomberg) -- The economy of Nigeria, sub-Saharan Africa’s second-largest, expanded an estimated 7.1 percent in the fourth quarter, the Central Bank of Nigeria said.

Growth was 6.9 percent in the previous three months and 7.7 percent in the same period the previous year, the Abuja-based bank said in a report on its website, citing estimates by the National Bureau of Statistics. Official figures for fourth-quarter growth are due Feb. 28.

The pickup was largely driven by industrial growth, with the non-oil sector expanding 8.2 percent and accounting for 87 percent of all output, the bank said. Agricultural “areas adversely affected by the floods during the second half of 2012 were yet to recover fully from the impact.”

The fiscal deficit of Africa’s largest oil producer rose to 420.8 billion naira ($2.7 billion), or 3.9 percent of economic output, in the fourth quarter. That compares with a targeted deficit of 284.1 billion naira for the period and a gap of 489.5 billion naira in the previous three months, the bank said.

“The deficit was financed mainly from domestic sources, particularly through the issuance of additional Federal Government of Nigeria Bonds,” it said.

The naira gained 0.7 percent to 156.15 a dollar in the interbank market in the fourth quarter.

To contact the reporter on this story: Maram Mazen in Abuja at mmazen@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at nseria@bloomberg.net

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